Q: What are the most urgent mental health issues in Erie County?
- Increasing services for people with co-occurring conditions of mental illness, addiction, intellectual or developmental disability. Additionally, provider workforce retention of clinical staff and physicians is always a concern.
- More affordable housing in the community is necessary so people are able to transition out of the service system. This would then allow high need individuals access to the housing services.
- Assisting those with mental health conditions who are involved in the criminal justice system is another priority. We continue to focus on diversion efforts, jail mental health programming, and community reintegration by way of reentry services.
- Increasing employment opportunities for people with mental illness is needed.
Q: What are some ways that the citizens of Erie County can help their family and friends that may experience mental health challenges?
We need to be willing to ask them how they are, how they have been feeling and be willing to listen. If they express concern that they have been feeling down or anxious to the point they have not been able to function we need to assist them in getting help as they likely are struggling with a mental health issue.
Q: Why is it important to address the stigma of mental illness in our community?
Stigma can create barriers and prevents people from getting help. We need to pledge and join together to end stigma that surrounds mental illness. As a community need to understand that mental illness is a health condition. We need to seek help if we don’t feel well and see a doctor if we experience physical pain. We also need to be able and willing to get help if we are having emotional difficulties and experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.